Today, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) unanimously approved a request by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) to audit the Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, Tulare Regional Medical Center, and the Tulare Local Health Care District.
“This audit is necessary to ensure local bonds intended to support a community hospital were used appropriately, efficiently and effectively,” said Senator Fuller.
In 2005, the Tulare Local Health Care District approved $85 million in General Obligation Bonds. These bonds were to pay costs related to the construction and equipping of the expansion and renovation of the Tulare Regional Medical Center which was under the management of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates. The Tulare Regional Medical Center suspended operations on October 29, 2017.
“The unanimous approval of our state audit request affirms the state’s interest in the people’s right to know how their money is spent, ” said Kevin Northcraft, Board President of Tulare Healthcare District. “The community of Tulare owes a great thank you to our State Senator Jean Fuller who made the request and championed it to its approval today.”
- The audit request passed by JLAC includes the following:
- A review and evaluation of the district’s spending and monitoring of its bond proceeds – including assessing HCCA’s role in the spending of those funds.
- Assessing the oversight of HCCA’s management of the medical center from the fiscal year 2014 through 2017.
- If possible, identifying steps the district could take to reopen the medical center.
“It is my hope that this audit and its findings will lead to the reopening of the Tulare Regional Medical Center and improve access to quality health care for the residents of Tulare and the surrounding region,” concluded Fuller.
This is a developing story and will be updated.